Thursday, February 2, 2012

Of Size and School

A recent chat on my book's Facebook page was a great reminder that one size does not fit all. Not only that, but just like us, what may fit when we are ten will likely no longer fit when we are 25. And what fits at 25 will no longer fit when you are my age.

Unless you have some incredible genes that allow you to wear skinny jeans into eternity.

(Like a certain relative of mine whose gene pool I share. She got the glamorous end of it, while I ended up with deep and wide. Pass the swimdress...)


But I'm not talking about clothing, here, or "sighing". I'm talking about another "s" word: School.

One thing I strive for in life is to open my mind and see how others think, while realizing that my experiences do not reflect all experiences. And I'm sure you do the same. This is especially relevant when talking about school, isn't it?

Let's talk school size for a moment. There are very strong opinions on the subject when it comes to the size of the school relative to the success of someone on the autism spectrum. For many, many people, it's all boiled down to these two simple equations:
  • The smaller the school = the greater the chance of success
  • The larger the school = more struggles.
But, these equations are flawed. In talking with many parents AND educators (yes, I put a big, fat emphasis on "and" - too many times we parents leave these guys out of the discussion, don't we?) experiences differ greatly. Speaking from our personal experiences, a smaller elementary school was very difficult, on the whole, while a much larger middle school (and consequent high school) were much better fits. So much so, my daughter has blossomed into a "social Aspie". It's unreal. But, in listening to other moms, it's also real that smaller schools are the key to their child's successes. And then there are moms (and dads - let's not leave these guys out!) who choose to homeschool, instead, and never look back.

There are lots of reasons for this, and it will take more time than I have room today, but, as with most things in life, I'm certain there is more than one answer. Sometimes, larger is better from a sheer statistical point of view. The greater the pool of students, the greater the chance someone on the autism spectrum will find someone who accepts them for who they are. It just makes sense. But for those with severe navigational issues, the larger the school, well, you can see where this is headed... Late to class. Wrong classroom. You get the picture.

Are you looking ahead at school, wondering about size? Worried that it's too big? Too small? Stressed out over which one will be "just right"? It's good to talk with others, and learn from their experiences. But, when all is said and done, the "right" answer will be a very personal one. And as long you and your family have peace with that, and your child continues to grow, succeed and bloom, that's all that matters!


  1. I just stumbled onto your blog for the first time & am very curious about your book. I'm a recently diagnosed woman & I can tell that it affects me differently than men, but am having trouble finding reading material on that. I'll definitely be back.

    P.S. I love your Etsy stuff

  2. Hi quirkyandlaughing! Thanks so much for your comment! Yeah, there's not a lot out there..yet. Mine is an effort to get the dialogue going on women and girls on the spectrum, and I truly hope that it encourages others to speak up and share their stories, as we are all different and have different experiences. Feel free to stop by my book's Facebook page and join in the conversation there. There are some other women on the spectrum who join in once in a while, as well as mom's. :) The address is:

    Thanks for the kind words about my Etsy shop! I love to create and work with color. :)